Reports from Albuquerque, New Mexico, tell of Judge Sheri Raphaelson stopping to aid crash victim Isaac Martinez. On February 12, 2014 Mr. Martinez was on his way to Judge Raphaelson’s court for burglary charges, when the truck driven by his mother slid off the snowy road. Judge Raphaelson, riding with her bailiff, saw the crash and stopped. Raphaelson is trained as an emergency medical technician and mid-wife, and was able to keep Mr. Martinez calm until emergency personnel arrived on the scene.
One of the most moving elements of the story is that Judge Raphaelson sat for an hour holding Mr. Martinez’s hand while others who stopped held a tarp over them to keep the snow off. Of those others present, at least three were also set to appear in Judge Raphaelson’s court. She will likely recuse herself from hearing their cases, as her experience with the accused would affect her judgment. Judge Raphaelson commented that if she could, she would make all their charges go away, after seeing their character revealed in responding to a man in need.
This story serves as a reminder of the unfair stigma that often comes with a criminal charge, whether innocent or guilty. In that moment, it was no longer Judge and Defendants, but simply people stopping to help a man in need. Judge Raphaelson was reminded that those accused are much more than just names on police reports, but real people who care about their fellow man. Even for those found guilty, one mistake does not define the story of a life.
If you are charged with a DUI or other criminal offense, you should contact a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible after your arrest.
 Mr. Oberman would like to thank University of Tennessee Law School student Timothy K. Jones for his assistance in researching and preparing this blog entry.